Book Reviews

Publication Date

Recently Viewed Products

Speed Review: Agile PR

Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-On World

by Marian Salzman

Speed Review: Agile PR
Buy this book at Barnes & Noble

Although a familiar term today, “metrosexual” was not heard of until a PR agency used it in an advertising campaign for its client, the Italian beer company Peroni. That agency was Havas PR North America, headed by Marian Salzman, author of a new book called Agile PR: Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always-On World. As Salzman explains, when Havas “hijacked” the term coined by English writer Mark Simpson and introduced it into popular culture, Havas was engaging in what she calls “news-fluence.” News-fluence is the art of newscrafting in order to create influence. Newscrafting is what PR agencies have always done: crafting great stories that help their clients to create news. A key component of newscrafting is trendspotting, a term that’s self-explanatory.

Salzman doesn’t waste time. Newscrafting, news-fluence and trendspotting are introduced in the first two pages of this highly readable and comprehensive overview of public relations in the age of social media and the “prosumer” — Salzman’s term for today’s proactive consumers. Readers receive the first list of imperatives — which she summarizes as “grab attention, expect trouble, master the media, know your story and spot trends” — on the third page.

The pace of the book reflects the pace of the world as Salzman describes it in this eloquent overview: “Back before everywhere-all-the-time technology was the norm... communication strategy could be planned in advance. The campaign blueprint plotted out a timeline with a series of milestones to be activated and checked off… The whole thing could be set up and executed more or less as planned, give or take a few adjustments to accommodate occasional unexpected events.”

“But that world is gone,” she continues. “Technology has made the faster pace and increasing frequency of unexpected events a certainty. The raucous multichannel news cycle demands a constant supply of sensational news and either finds it or creates it.”

Public relations has never been a field for the timid, but even less so in the “raucous” 21st-century world that Salzman paints so effectively. The key to survival in such a world is to be agile.

Turbocharged Takeaways

Salzman and “the team at Havas PR,” which is credited as co-author of the book, have written a primer on PR agility. The whole panoply of public relations is found in these well-written pages, including storytelling, personalizing brands, doing well by doing good, how to be global and “hyperlocal,” crisis management and the aforementioned trendspotting. The advice comes fast and furious, but, as expected from PR professionals, it is structured to be easily read and understood. The takeaways at the end of each chapter, entitled “How We Now Turbocharge,” are crystal clear nuggets of advice that alone are worth the price of the book.

The turbocharged takeaways for the chapter “Blow Up the Internet” are a case in point: Here are just a few:

“Be Like Zuck.” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg’s style and behaviors — from sharing successes and hardships to embracing your quirks — offer a model for the modern leader, she writes.

“Craft Creativity.” Today’s technology has enabled “creative democracy”: we can all be our own photographers, filmmakers and stylists. “As PR folks,” Salzman advises, “we need to monitor this new creative class and track their trajectories.”

“Snap to It.” There is an ever-changing variety of social-media channels vying for attention and users, but Snapchat “tops the watch list,” according to Salzman. “It offers authentic interaction and a VIP feel for its real-time glimpses into ‘everyday’ moments.”

Salzman is no bandwagon jumper. Back in 2009, she was already extolling the virtues of Twitter, long before anyone dreamed that many Americans would accept these 140-character spurts of conversation as a legitimate principal channel for the President of the United States. For PR professionals who want to join the ranks of the great trendspotters, Salzman’s latest is a must-have.

Related Products

  • Image of Real-Time Marketing & PR

    Real-Time Marketing & PR

    By David Meerman Scott
    Item #: 3310
    In this eye-opening follow-up to The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott reveals the proven, practical steps to take your business into the real-time era. Find out how to act and react flexibly as events occur, position your brand in the always-on world of the Web, and avoid embarrassing mistakes and missteps in this executive book summary of Real-Time Marketing & PR.
    From: $9.00
    Buy Now!
  • Image of The Ultimate Sales Machine

    The Ultimate Sales Machine

    By Chet Holmes
    Item #: 2928
    In the cut throat sales world a number of managers leap from one strategic trend to the next, becoming bogged down during the process instead of rising to the top. According to Chet Holmes –– known as “America’s greatest business growth expert” –– that doesn’t have to be the case if you take the time and focus. Holmes provides 12 key strategies to turn any business into what he deems “the ultimate sales machine.”
    From: $9.00
    Buy Now!